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O'Reilly Radar
Emerging tech analysis from O'Reilly Media.
Emerging tech analysis from O'Reilly Media.

O'Reilly Radar's posts

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Ten years of OpenStreetMap
By Tyler Bell

"This week, OSM celebrates its 10th birthday, which provides a convenient excuse to highlight why its achievements to-date are amazing, unusual, and promising in equal parts."

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Does net neutrality really matter?
By +Andy Oram 

"I feel that network neutrality as a (vague) concept took hold of an important ongoing technical, social, and economic discussion and rechanneled it along ineffective lines. As this article has shown, technology as well as popular usage has continuously changed at the content or application level, and there are many forms of centralization I’d worry about before traffic shaping."

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Open source biology
Joe Schloendorn is creating and distributing plasmids that can freely be reproduced — a huge breakthrough for DIY bio.
By +Mike Loukides 

"I still wonder: what does an 'open source' license mean for this kind of source code? What’s the best way to protect DNA from patent trolling and other abuses? Having been involved with the computer industry all my life, code that you can’t see makes me nervous. Shipping plasmids sounds, to me, like proprietary software you can download for free: 'free as in beer,' not 'free as in liberty.' But this clearly isn’t about 'free as in beer'; you are free to reproduce and modify the DNA.

"That’s a discussion that we need to have, and I’m thrilled that we’re starting to have it."

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Need parking? There’s no app for that…yet
Our parking problems need nuanced civic tech solutions.
By @Drew Dara-Abrams

"The so-called sharing economy, with its promises of 'access not ownership' and 'collaborative consumption,' is a potential solution to tragedy-of-the-commons situations. But shouldn’t individuals and businesses only 'share' what is legally theirs to begin with? The San Francisco city attorney makes this distinction, noting that 'people are free to rent out their own private driveways and garage spaces should they choose to do so.'

"Monkey Parking is a useful conversation starter. It highlights how mismanaged American cities’ public parking assets are. It even points toward one partial solution — that is, Shoup’s recommendation for dynamic pricing. But the San Francisco city attorney is right: rather than 'sharing,' this is a case of private gain at public expense. And what’s of more lasting consequence is how for-profit services that illegally broker public parking spaces are distracting from technologies that could actually help fix our tragedy of the parking commons."

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What is deep learning, and why should you care?
Announcing a new series delving into deep learning and the inner workings of neural networks.
By +Pete Warden 

"The bottom line is that deep learning works really well, and if you ever deal with messy data from the real world, it’s going to be an essential element in your toolbox over the next few years. Until recently, it’s been an obscure and daunting area to learn about, but its success has brought a lot of great resources and projects that make it easier than ever to get started. I’m looking forward to taking you through some of those, delving deeper into the inner workings of the networks, and generally have some fun exploring what we can all do with this new technology!"

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Signals from Foo Camp 2014
O’Reilly editors explore the ideas and influences that are poised to break through.
By +Mac Slocum 

"The latest Foo Camp wrapped up recently, so we pooled our notes and collected the major trends we spotted across sessions and conversations." Here's an early look at big things to come:

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Questioning the Lambda Architecture
The Lambda Architecture has its merits, but alternatives are worth exploring.
By +Jay Kreps 

"I think the Lambda Architecture solves an important problem that was otherwise generally ignored. But I don’t think this is a new paradigm or the future or big data. It is just a temporary state driven by the current limitation of off-the-shelf tools. I also think there are better alternatives."

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Revisiting “What is DevOps”
If all companies are software companies, then all companies must learn to manage their online operations.
By +Mike Loukides 

"DevOps isn’t just about Dev and Ops. It’s about corporate management as a whole; it’s about the entire corporate culture, from the janitors (who promise to keep the building clean) to the CEO (who promises to keep the company funded and the paychecks coming). Promise theory has emerged as the intellectual framework underpinning that change in culture. And Velocity is where we are discussing those changes."

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AI’s dueling definitions
Why my understanding of AI is different from yours.
By +Beau Cronin 

"Each archetype is embedded in a deep mesh of associations, assumptions, and historical and fictional narratives that work together to suggest the technologies most likely to succeed, the potential applications and risks, the timeline for development, and the “personality” of the resulting intelligence. I’d go so far as to say that it’s impossible to talk and reason about AI without reference to some underlying characterization. Unfortunately, even sophisticated folks who should know better are prone to switching mid-conversation from one version of AI to another, resulting in arguments that descend into contradiction or nonsense. This is one reason that much AI discussion is so muddled — we quite literally don’t know what we’re talking about."

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From the network interface to the database
All systems are distributed systems, and we’re starting to see how they fit into Velocity's themes.
By +Mike Loukides 

"While Velocity has been a pioneer in recognizing the distributed nature of modern computing as well as the tools and the cultural changes needed to deal effectively with a distributed world, we’ve only taken occasional glances at the infrastructure that lies behind the server. We’ve only taken occasional looks at data centers themselves. And I don’t think we’ve ever discussed routing issues or routers, though a router failure can sink your application just as badly as a dead server.

"So, in our ongoing exploration of web performance and operations, we’re going to broaden the scope. I don’t think we’ll be doing less of anything than we are today, but we do have to take a step back and look at the bigger picture."
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